Hello, it’s lovely to meet you! I’m Emma and I'm the founder of Emma Kate & Co also know as a designer - a traveller - and dreamer.
In short, I live stories and write about them.
More specifically - I’m a graphic designer, hand-letterer, illustrator and all-round creative wayfarer. I’m travel obsessed, always on a plane and chasing the sun. A little over six months ago, I launched into the world my first stationery collection Wild Hearts, under my brand name Emma Kate Co. and it’s been a wild, non-stop adventure ever since. And importantly... I’m having so much fun!
Describe the moment you realized you had found your creative and business path?
I’ve had coloured pencils in my hand as long as I can remember. But it was when I was fifteen that my real creative path was inspired. I serendipitously met the founder of the international stationery brand Intrinsic - Adèle Basheer. We connected powerfully, and Adèle soon became my mentor, and later my employer. She helped me realise that I could make a living doing the creating I adored and inspired me to make the last-minute, heart-led BIG switch from Psychology to design after high school. Because… why not? I jumped into a new creative world - and never looked back.
My business path was much more recent. A little over twelve months ago, I found myself on a one-way plane back to Australia, when my UK visa didn’t work out, and my life in London came to an abrupt and rather severed ending. Plucked out of one reality and thrown into another, with no plan B, I found myself with a whole lot of space and immediate accountability - it was a new beginning in every sense, and I decided to pursue something big and different. Determined to run with opportunity, I went full tilt for my dream.
What has been your biggest highlight in the short-lived 2016?
My collaboration with Zakkia - of course! Seriously, this collaboration feels like something written in the stars, and it has from the get go. There’s total alignment with our shared vision and also a deep respect for each other’s skills. What could top these candles?! I also spent a long weekend frolicking in lavender fields in Daylesford (Victoria), which was three days of more fun and rest than I can remember.
What drives you to keep creating?
It’s total instinct. For me, the design is alchemy. It comes as naturally to me as breathing. I feel a pull, an instinctual need to create. If I don't, it feels like looking through a telescope backwards. Everything is fuzzy and disorientating and my sense of purpose erodes. The world needs more love, and for me, art brings that lightness + warmth + meaning.
So really, the drive is there unwaveringly. I’m not inspired to create.
Whenever we catch up you are always working on a million exciting things. What would your absolute ideal day look like?
My ideal day would involve a strong soy coffee, a plane ride, wildflowers, an out-of-the-blue email, a beach wander (with gold pink sky), deep belly laughter, a wine and cheese type scenario, and being kissed goodnight. I don’t mind where that would all play out in the world, but those elements combined would make up my ideal day.
Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey?
That I can do anything, but not everything.
I wouldn’t have listened, of course.
But it’s my current, and ongoing lesson. I want to do so much, but hours of the day - realistically, are finite. And it’s pivotal to prioritise.
And also, to play more! To carve out some space and create for the sake of creating and for play, not always for the outcome.
What helps you stay balanced as you juggle business, travel and personal time?
Honestly? I don’t. I live a life of immersion, and I think that’s the only way I will be able to exist and thrive as a creative.
I live and breathe this dream. Work spills into my life, my life spills into my work, the line between the two is fuzzy and I like – no. I love it that way. My work is absolutely an extension of myself because I am my brand. But more than that - quite often my retailers become confidants, my collaborators become best friends, and when I think about it, my downtime is always just as filled with self-directed creative projects - as ‘work’ time is. I think for creative entrepreneurs it’s different than a typical employment field. We’re in this industry because we want to complete immersion.
I think a key lesson in balance for me this past year has been one of visibility. The more ‘visible’ I get, the more protective I feel about carving space for downtime and nurturing privacy – experiences and precious time with loved ones that aren’t documented on a camera roll, or captured anywhere at all, except in my heart.
The more I am visible and out there, the more I find myself unattached to my phone and cherishing the undocumented. So there’s that. The undocumented gives me balance.
Having travelled so much recently, where could you see yourself living other than Australia? What would you be doing there?
London will always have my heart as my second home. I lived there for two years, and before that, a six-month stint living in Montpellier (in the South of France) also. I could return to both happily and comfortably again because they are so familiar (and I know where to get the best coffee - important!)
I’d love to call Copenhagen or Stockholm home one day, just for a little while. Scandinavia has my heart.
While it would be fun to call somewhere different ‘home’ for a new adventure - honestly, the more that I travel, the more grateful I always feel to return to Australia as a base and grow my business from here. So long as I can travel without restriction, always, I feel so lucky to call Australia home.
If you could invite any guest over for dinner, present or past, who would it be?
Can I invite three? Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and my grandmother, who I met as a very young child, but never had the chance to know. From what my family has said, we’d have been so close and kindred by spirit.
What is the best gift you have ever received?
Real, messy, poetic or plain, authentic, vulnerable scribed words mean the most to me. They always will.
And… travel. An ex-boyfriend surprised me with a trip to a surprise destination, which turned out to be us staying on a medieval island called Mont Saint Michel in France, once, and that was incredibly magical.
What are you most excited about at the moment? Is there something special you’re working towards, or do the flowers on your table smell particularly fragrant today?
I’m very excited to experience Bali for the first time in March. This country has called me for so long! And generally speaking, I am so excited by Sweet 16. I have this feeling that this year ahead is going to be such a great one.